One chef is revolutionizing how people snack at the cinema.
Sherry Yard, chief operating officer restaurant division of iPic Entertainment, is a critically acclaimed chef and cookbook author who worked with Wolfgang Puck for nearly 20 years.
These days she's busy opening concept restaurants like City Perch Kitchen & Bar, which has locations in Bethesda, MD, and Fort Lee, NJ, and The Tuck Room, a gastro-lounge found in cities such as Houston, Miami Beach, Los Angeles and New York. These restaurants are owned by iPic Restaurants.
Yard has also designed the menu for iPic Theaters, creating items that can be eaten in the cinema without disturbing other audience members.
"I took it as a chef, but also as a guest — what would I want to see and what would I like?" Yard said of taking on the job of creating a new menu for iPic. "Of course, the first thing is it can't be too smelly, can't be too noisy, no forks, no knives and then it was 'what do I like to eat? What would I want to eat?'"
Yard's iPic menu is a snackable version of her City Perch menu. Items traditionally eaten with a fork are transformed into hands-only meals. City Perch's Caesar Salad has been recreated into Chicken Caesar Salad Boats — the chicken, croutons, Parmesan and dressing are housed in romaine lettuce rolls.
Similarly, the lobster platters offered at City Perch have been recreated as easy-to-eat poached lobster rolls with pink chili dressing.
These menu items are designed as fancy finger food and don't require silverware or come in noisy, crinkly plastic.
Yard is quick to admit that there is always indulgence involved in her cooking and the iPic menu is no exception. In-cinema "nosh bites" include ham and cheese biscuits with maple butter, Thai coconut shrimp, and quinoa and spinach dip with applewood smoked bacon.
For supper, customers can dine on beer-battered fish and chips, buttermilk fried chicken and mahi-mahi fish tacos, among a list of other items from pizzas to burgers and, of course, sumptuous sweets.
The menu prices may seem steep to some moviegoers. But, for Yard, the cost is worth the experience.Prices range from $8 for sweet potato fries or chocolate s'mores cake to $19 for grilled beef tenderloin skewers or filet mignon sliders.
"Joining the team was really important to me because in my career, I've been a part of what I consider some real revolutions in food," she told CNBC.
Yard was part of a team in the '80s that included James Beard Award Winner Bradley Ogden and famed chef Jan Birnbaum, who worked to change the way that consumers view hotel restaurants. Ogden, Birnbaum and Yard, among others, transformed the Taj Campton Place Hotel into a dining destination.
At the time, no one thought that could be done. "Folks wouldn't look at hotels to go eat," she said.
It seems Yard has taken that same concept and applied it to the movies.
"It's unprecedented, the things that we are doing," Yard said. "Whether it's overnight brining or braises, we're really taking on techniques and cooking styles that you would find in fine dining restaurants."